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Jul 16, 2010 6:42 AM

House OKs overhaul of US flood insurance program

WASHINGTON (AP) The House has voted to overhaul the debt-ridden federal program that provides flood insurance to more than 5 million homeowners and businesses located in flood-prone areas.

The National Flood Insurance Program, an arm of FEMA, has for more than four decades offered affordable flood insurance to people in more than 20,000 communities that participate in efforts to reduce flood damage.

But Congress has not updated the program since 1994, and in the ensuing years it has been saddled with billions in losses as a result of Hurricane Katrina and population growth in areas at risk of flooding.

The bill takes such steps as permitting an increase in premiums, deductibles and coverage and phasing out subsidies for vacation homes and for people living in areas repeatedly hit by floods. It now goes to the Senate.

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